Stories published in June, 2017

O’ Parachinar, your loyalty is not enough for Pakistan

Addey, my grandmother, would reminisce about memories of her father with pride in her eyes and say, “I was a little girl of seven and the memory of him sitting in a room and sewing green coloured clothes and the flag of Pakistan with his own hands before the Partition is still afresh in my eyes. He used to write letters to Mohammad Ali Jinnah on behalf of the people of Parachinar to express his willingness to join Pakistan. He received directions by him in return for the Pakistan Movement in this tribal region. He travelled on horses along with other companions from Parachinar to Delhi to meet Jinnah ...

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It is not the cows that they want to protect, it’s the Muslims they want to kill

It is a sin being a Muslim in India today, but a blessing if you’re a cow. Otherwise, how else can you justify the uninterrupted killings and lynching of Muslim men in the name of cows ever since Narendra Modi assumed power in May 2014? The latest victim is a man called Alimuddin, aka Asgar Ali, in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. He was allegedly transporting some meat and the cow protection group (an euphemism for radical and extremist Hindu militant groups) intercepted the vehicle and beat him to death without verifying the content of the vehicle. Their hatred towards Muslims is so extreme that it’s the name that invites revulsion. ...

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Stronger: Jake Gyllenhaal gives us an insightful view of the Boston Bombings

Remember those years when we as a collective used to root for Leonardo DiCaprio to win his first ever Oscar. Well guess what, we have got another cinematic bandwagon to jump on to. Ladies and gentleman, may I present to you, Jake Gyllenhaal, the powerhouse performer who after DiCaprio’s academy win is now the best actor to not have earned the accolade. Ever since his iconic portrayal of a psychologically troubled teenager in the cult classic Donnie Darko, Gyllenhaal has gone from strength to strength. Between Prisoner, Nightcrawler and Nocturnal Animals, the 36-year-old is truly at the peak of his craft. But surprisingly, he’s been nominated for the Oscar on just one ...

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Remembering Mushtaq Mohammad, the legendary epitome of Pakistan cricket captaincy

Pakistan cricket had been the backbone of international cricket for several years. This boom started from the 70s, up until the early 2000s, primarily because of its ability to produce superstars and due to its unpredictable nature, which drew the attention of millions of fans worldwide towards a game that is not played by most countries. Let’s take a look back to where and how it started. After a horrifying decade of cricket in the 60s and the rise of field hockey in Pakistan, cricket was in grave danger of going extinct in our newly formed state. Fortunately for Pakistan cricket and even for world cricket, Pakistan appointed ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr and Maria Toorpakay Wazir will have none of this gender conformity nonsense, and we salute them

A few days ago, I had the privilege of watching two videos. The central individuals in both the videos are totally different. One is a scion of the most famous political dynasty of Pakistan, while the other was born into a more humble background but managed to garner fame and success through talent, determination and hard work. One is a bearded young man who speaks softly and eloquently, while the other is a tough-looking female who talks in what would be considered a “masculine” manner in our society. One is a man who is trying to tell the world ...

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‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ is one of the worst cases of an ‘old wine in a new bottle’

Oh for the love of God, please stop! How could they possibly continue to flog a cinematic dead horse, or as the title suggests, dead men, who really have no need to tell this obnoxiously tired tale. Sometimes I wonder if these Hollywood scriptwriters have the easiest gig in the world. It’s one thing to write something so absurd, but getting paid millions to do it is just simply outrageous. The Pirates of the Caribbean (PotC) franchise has come out with a new instalment. If you ask me, it’s more cost effective to recall the previous movies in your mind instead of spending your hard-earned bucks ...

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How Ibne Insha’s lyrical anti-war poems are terrifyingly relevant in the war-ravaged times of today

Ibne Insha (1927-1976) was one of our most gifted poets and humourists who died too young. The world knows him mostly as the author of melancholy ghazals such as ‘Insha ji utho ab kooch karo’ (Insha ji, get up and do something), or the biting satire that can be witnessed in his masterpiece, ‘Urdu ki akhri kitab’. However, little known is the fact that he was one of the early supporters of the Progressive Writers Movement (PWM) in colonial India and would undoubtedly have been one of its leaders had he lived long enough. He also left behind about a dozen odd intensely political poems showing an uncanny awareness ...

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KGS, FPS, Nixor, Southshore, Lyceum or Cedar – The choices you make today will mould your future tomorrow

If you think you can relax right after taking your O’ level examinations, you’re wrong. Right after you’re done with your exams, people begin bombarding you with all sorts of questions, asking you what your plans are for college and what subjects you’re going to opt for. There is literally no chill, and apparently for all the right reasons. The decisions you make now will affect the course of your life. I know this sounds scary, but it’s true. After O’ level exams finish, the main concern is the arduous process of choosing a school for A’ levels. But before getting to that part, you ...

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Four Pakistani cricket legends who left behind some big shoes to fill

One cannot recount Pakistan’s rich cricketing history without giving adequate importance to the players who made their mark and kept the green flag flying high. Taking into account the fact that some of its finest players of the past decade or so recently put the curtain down on their careers, it is apt to shed some light on what made them such great contributors to Pakistan cricket. Be it the aggression of Shahid Afridi, the flamboyance of Abdul Razzaq, or the stability and permanence provided by the stalwarts in the shape of Younis Khan and Misbahul Haq, Pakistan cricket was truly blessed to have such impact players at its disposal. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Who is a Pakistani? A Muslim? A desperate migrant? Different from an Indian? A caged woman?

Over the past two years, I have travelled to 15 countries, either by myself or with friends. Before this nomadic lifestyle of mine, I had lived my entire life within a bubble in Pakistan, and honestly, the question of what it meant to be a Pakistani never occurred to me. But as I travelled and met more people whose cultures and values were as foreign to me as mine were to them, my innate assumptions about the notion of the Pakistani identity were challenged. Numerous people helped me reflect on the overarching perceptions of my country. I was a medium through which they could know more about a ...

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